Uniting Communities welcomes the report of the Senate Inquiry into the Adequacy of Newstart (now called JobSeeker).

Uniting Communities’ CEO, Simon Schrapel AM, highlights that ‘Having made a submission to the Inquiry and presented to the Senate Committee at its hearing in South Australia, our organisation is heartened by the recommendations included in the Senate Committee’s report which call for an increase to the JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payments when the Coronavirus Supplement is phased out.

‘The Committee’s report documents the experiences of people receiving social security payments and the hardships they experience, such as not affording prescribed medications, going without food, being unable to pay rent and utility bills, homelessness, not using heating or cooling in their homes, etc. All of these conditions have been exacerbated by COVID-19 and the increased levels of insecurity and unemployment, which is estimated to reach approximately 1.7 million people by September. The increase to the base JobSeeker amount through the Coronavirus Supplement will potentially make a significant positive difference to people’s lives.

‘Uniting Communities supports the Senate Committee’s 27th recommendation: “Once the Coronavirus Supplement is phased out, the Australian Government increase the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payment rates to ensure that all eligible recipients do not live in poverty.” It is critical that our social security system provides the ongoing support that all people need, including single parents, people with a disability and carers.

‘COVID-19 has reminded us all why it is so important to have an adequate social security safety net in place. The impact and legacy of COVID-19 is going to be felt for many years to come and will include heightened levels of job insecurity, unemployment and under-employment. It will therefore be essential that an increased JobSeeker payment is provided, which in turn will act as an economic stimulus as Australia rebuilds its economy. Now is the time to revisit all social security payments so as to ensure that no-one in our society is left behind or forced to live in poverty.’

 

The full Senate Inquiry Report is available here.

For comment:

Simon Schrapel AM
Chief Executive
0411 643 132